First Sunday of Advent

The first Sunday of Advent starts a new liturgical year. Just as the earth needs its cycles of seasons to rejuvenate itself, so we use the seasons of the Church’s year to bring new life to the image of God in which we were created and the likeness to Christ into which we were baptised.

At first, Advent might look a little artificial. After all, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah was born 2,000 years ago. Advent, however, is not an exercise in make-believe. Rather, it recognises the fact and truth that the entry of Christ into our life, into every part of our life, is still unfinished.

Each year, we discover there is more of our life to unlock to Christ. That’s why Advent each year is about the expectation of new light, new life and new birth of Christ into our life.

The Lord teaches us in today’s Gospel to “Wake up and be on the watch”. The Lord refers, of course, to His coming of glory. But His words apply to the present, to the now. It’s very easy for us to limit the coming of Christ to the past, or to the future when the Lord will come at the end of history and to ignore the ways the Lord comes to us today.

Each time Scripture is read, the Lord speaks to us as a church and to each of us. Each time the Mass is celebrated, the Lord is present with his cleansing, redeeming love for the Church and for each of us. Each time we come to Holy Communion/make a spiritual communion, He pledges eternal life to us who live the meaning of that Communion.

Advent is a call to wake up to the presence of Christ today. A time of reflection and preparation. As we light the candles of the Advent wreath each week, and as their light becomes stronger each week of Advent, the light of Christ will become stronger in our life. Advent calls us to watch for the moment of God in our life.

May we have the grace to open our hearts to Him.

Fr Andrew